Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
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First Seeding of the Season - Beets and a Recipe

Today officially marks the first day of our season. If you are looking for me, I will be here on the farm from now until November. Things are really going to get busy. I started sowing seeds today. The first batch is beets.  Beets are the only root crop that I know of, that you CAN start indoors and transplant. I have heard transplanted beets always do better than direct seeded beets. I experimented with a few last year and it worked. The beet “seed” is a cluster of seeds in a dried fruit. Several seedlings grow from each seed. I am going to plant one seed per cell and then thin to the one strongest seedling per cell. Then I will transplant the entire cell, without disturbing the starter mix, into it's planting hole. Beets are one of my favorite veggies. Here is a great recipe using beets:

Marinated Beets
Makes 6 servings
2 bunches beets
2 Tbsp water
1/4 c vinegar
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
5 Tbsp vegetable oil

1. Wash beets, trim off greens, place in medium saucepan with salted water to cover; bring to a boil then simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.
2. When cool enough to handle, peel, slice, and place in glass or ceramic
3. Whisk together water, vinegar, sugar, onion, horseradish, cloves, salt, pepper and oil until sugar and salt dissolve.
4. Pour over beets and let stand several hours, stirring occasionally, before serving.


Getting Ready for Spring - Leek and Potato Soup

This past week at the Bountiful Blessings Farm has been filled with preparation for Spring. We finished the construction of our new high tunnel. All we have left to do is hang the doors and backfill. It is exciting to see the progress as we anticipate seeding and growing for this year’s produce season. The seeds have all been ordered; the soil has been prepared; the seed room erected; flats ready; many seeds have arrived; most everything is ready to go! The days are getting longer and the work is multiplying. Once again, the folks at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce are ready to grow a wonderful crop and to serve our local friends and neighbors with fresh veggies! In the meantime, here is a wonderful recipe for Leek and Potato Soup:


Leek and Potato Soup

4 Tbsp. – unsalted butter

1lb - leeks, trimmed and finely sliced

1 ½ lb - potatoes, roughly chopped

1 ½ pt - vegetable stock

4 - Sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 ½ cups – Whole milk

2 Tbsp. - chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. – Heavy whipping cream

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and sweat gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes, stock, rosemary and milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Discard the rosemary, then pour into a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Return to a clean pan, and stir in the parsley and cream. Season to taste. Reheat gently and serve.


Serves 4


Another Stew Recipe - Great Comfort Food for a Winter NIght

 As I mentioned yesterday, we love soups, stews and chowders in the winter. Here is another one of our favorite recipes. This is one my grandpa enjoyed, so we named it after him. Today has been one of those days on the farm. We wanted to get our new high tunnel covered but the wind was too strong. I guess it will have to wait until next week.

Burton’s Beef Stew:

2 lbs lean stew beef, cut into bite size chunks

1 ½ cups - flour

3 tablespoons cooking oil

2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon pepper

1 large chopped onion (1 cup)

3 to 4 medium potatoes cut in 1 inch squares

3 large carrots quartered lengthwise and cut in 1 inch lengths

1 14-oz can tomatoes, bite size

1 14-oz can stew tomatoes


Roll beef in flour. Heat oil in pot on medium heat then brown beef a few pieces at a time, setting aside each piece when browned when finished return all to the pot. Pour in boiling water and watch out for splatter. Add Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the meat is tender. Add onion, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes then cook another 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. May be served hot but taste best when refrigerated overnight and reheated.


Corn Chowder - We Love It!

This time of the year is one of our favorite times for making soups, stews and chowders. This is one really stands out as a favorite! Enjoy! I usually double the recipe as we love to savor it for several days.


Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons butter

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 sprigs fresh thyme - leaves only

¼ lbs Salt Pork (sliced) - bacon can be used

¼ cup all-purpose flour

6 cups canned vegetable stock

2 cups heavy cream

2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced

6 ears sweet corn - fresh frozen can used if needed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves


Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt pork and thyme and cook until the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes; bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture). Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and give it another little drink of olive oil. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.




Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

 Here is a great recipe for a cold, snowy, night.


Chicken Noodle Soup

1 - 3 lb. whole chicken

2 qts. water

2 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. chicken stock

2 c. celery, chopped

2 c. carrots, chopped

1 tart apple, chopped

1 c. onions, chopped

Dash pepper

4 c. egg noodles

Place chicken in kettle with 2 quarts water. Cook over medium heat until tender (about 2½ hours). Remove chicken from kettle and strain broth. Debone chicken and return to kettle with strained broth. Add chicken stock, celery, carrots, apple, onions, and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender. When vegetables are tender, add noodles and cook 8-10 minutes.


Home Made Kettle Corn

We eat a lot of popcorn at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. One of our favorite recipes is Kettle Corn. We also make quick caramel corn. I will post that recipe another time. Check out our web site for our home grown popcorn. I use one of those theater popcorn poppers to make all of our popcorn and this recipe. It works great. Nonetheless, the method printed here works well.


Homemade Kettle Corn


1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels


Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn. Cover, and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps.


Don and Eileen's Borscht

I love beets, however, I love them pickled! Nonetheless, after trying them in our friend's Don and Eileen Albinger's Borscht recipe, I love beets cooked this way as well. This is a wonderful winter soup. We try to enjoy it several times over the winter.

Don and Eileen’s Borscht

8 cups beef broth

1 pound ground beef (cooked)

1 large onion, peeled, quartered

4 large beets, peeled, chopped (boil in advance)

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

¼  cup chopped fresh dill

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste


Brown ground beef in skillet, drain and allow to cool. In a large sauce pan bring 4 cups of the beef broth, ground beef and onion to boil in large pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Spoon fat from top of chilled broth and discard. Add remaining 4 cups broth, beets, carrots, and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cabbage and 1/8 cup dill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream and remaining 1/8 cup dill. The flavors may be enhanced by refrigerating overnight and reheating the next day.


Serves 6.


Oyster Stew

Oyster Stew

Oyster Stew is a Wielert Tradition on Christmas Eve. Before heading to church, we always had Oyster Stew. I am not sure when or where the tradition started, however, for the last 50 years; I can vouch for its tradition.


50 medium oysters, such as bluepoints, shucked (about 1½ lbs.), with 1 cup of the liquor reserved

12 tbsp. unsalted butter (1½ sticks)

5 Tbsp. flour

4 ribs celery, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped curly parsley

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

Combine oyster liquor with 1 cup water in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the oysters and simmer until their edges just begin to curl, about 2 minutes. Strain oysters through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl. Reserve oysters and cooking liquid separately. Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add celery, garlic, onions, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until onions and celery are very soft, about 25 minutes.

Stir in milk, cream, and reserved oysters with their cooking liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until just hot, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


Serves 6


Grandma's Pot Roast

Grandma’s Pot Roast

1 – 3 to 5 pound chuck roast

3 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Roll roast in the flour and brown in the vegetable oil in a large pot. Then stir in:

1 ¾ cups of beef broth

1/4 teaspoon of peppercorns

1 teaspoon of salt

2 bay leaves

Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 2 hours. Then add:


2 pounds of potatoes, pared and quartered

1 cup of sliced celery

2 cups of sliced carrots

1 pound of peeled white onions


If needed, put in more water or broth to cover the vegetables and cook for 1 more hour or until vegetables are tender. Put meat and vegetables onto a hot platter and sprinkle with parsley. Pour off drippings and thicken with enough flour to make gravy.


Grilled Habanero Salsa with Mango and MORE!

I am really looking forward to the growing season as I want to experiment with some of my recipes. Here is one I want to try. Someone sent it to me so I am unable to give credit to whomever came up with the recipe. Nonetheless, it looks wonderful.


2 habanero peppers

2 mangoes

3 (3/4 inch) slices of fresh pineapple

3 ears of sweet corn

1/2 red onion

5 cloves of garlic, in their skin

2 TBSP olive oil

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

half of a lime

1/2 tsp salt



  1. Start grill.

  2. Prepare ingredients: wash habaneros; cut mango flesh away from pit and remove peel; slice pineapple and remove core and rind; shuck corn; cut onion in half or into thick slices; seperate garlic cloves (leaving skins on) and place them in a grill-proof bowl with olive oil; wash and chop cilantro.

  3. Place habaneros, mango halves, pineapple slices, corn, onion, lime half and bowl with garlic and oil on grill. Turn items as needed. Remove from the grill as they begin to blacken. More than likely you’ll remove your mangos and pineapple slices first, followed by the habaneros, lime, onions and then corn. Remove your garlic last, as you’ll want to provide as much time as you can infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavor.

  4. As items cool, chop them into uniform bits so that everything is around the same size – except for the garlic and habaneros! You want to remove the skins from the habaneros and garlic cloves and then mince them as finely as you can.

  5. Combine everything together in a bowl and mix. Pour the garlic oil over the top and stir one more time and then taste test. Add up to a 1/2 tsp of salt if you believe it needs it.

  6. Serve with corn chips, on top of grilled chicken breast, along side pork tenderloin, or even just as a side dish because it is that good!  Enjoy!


Beef Stew Kind of a Day

2 pounds beef chuck or stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
¼ cup flour
1 ½ t salt
½ t pepper
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 t paprika
4 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, diced
2 onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced

Place meat in crock-pot. Mix flour, salt & pepper and pour over meat; stir to coat meat with flour. Add remaining ingredients & stir to mix well. Cover & cook on low 10 to 12 hours. (High: 4 to 6 hours) Stir stew thoroughly before serving.


Winter Marinated Carrots

 We had some carrots in storage and used this recipe. Tasty!!!

Marinated Carrots

Makes 3 cups

1 lb carrots

2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard or other grainy mustard

1/4 c olive oil

1 or 2 green onions, chopped

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and black pepper


1. Scrub and peel carrots. Cut into uniform matchsticks or slices.

2. Blanch carrots in boiling water 3-4 minutes or until barely tender. Drain.

3. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, onions, parsley and garlic. Shake vigorously.

4. Pour over warm carrots. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.


Winter Comfort Food

If you are like many gardeners, you probably have a few butternut squash tucked away in your root cellar or other winter storage area. Here at the Bountiful Blessing Farm, we have an ample supply of Butternut squash set aside for ourselves this winter. This is one of my wife's favorite recipes.

Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 6 servings
6 Tbsp chopped onion
1/4 c butter
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, in pieces

1. Cook onions in butter in pot until tender. Add squash, broth, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer,
partially covered, 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

2. Puree squash. Return to saucepan. Add cream cheese, and heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and soup is very hot. Add more broth or water if needed to achieve desired consistency. Do not allow to boil.


Cold Day for a Sale

Today was a lot of fun, but very cold! I went the Hinckley Lion's Club sale in Hinckley, Illinois. It was great seeing a lot of people I have not seen in over a year. I was trying to find items we need at the farm for the upcoming season. There wasn't really any machinery there that would work for our operation, but I was able to get some lumber to complete at least one of the hay racks we will need. As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, Sunday's for us are usually spent in church and then family time in the afternoon. However, there are some time constraints this week with seed order deadlines and other issues that may prevent me from being able to attend worship.

I am hoping to be done with the things I need to do early in the morning so I can go to church.  However, it seems like lately things have not really gone the way I have planned. This results in crunch time and I do not like doing things at the last minute. The computer crash this week really took its toll. Now I am playing catch-up! I may have to use Sunday to catch-up. Bummer. I hate missing church. Well anyway, I hope that we will have time for some great food. I love this comfort food kind of soup on a cold day! This is what I was thinking about making:


Golden Cheesy Potato Soup


3 cups chopped potatoes
1 cup water
½ cup celery sliced
½ cup carrot sliced
¼ cup onions chopped
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk
2 tablespoons flour
½ pound velveeta cubed
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 cup ham diced

In a large sauce pan, combine everything EXCEPT the milk, flour, & Velveeta. Mix well, cover, simmer 15-20 minutes or until veggies are tender. Gradually add milk to flour & mix until well blended. Add milk mixture to vegetables. Cook till thickened. Add Velveeta & stir until melted. Serves 7


Another Day at the Farm

Well yesterday was a long and busy day. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I picked up a load of cement blocks and wood from a friend's place. That took most of the morning. I hauled the load home and my buddy, Rick convinced me to bring another running gear over to his shop to repair. What a job!!! After getting it into the shop, we had to cut the old top off of it and then jack it up. Once we had it on the jack stands we were able to pull the wheels. Two of the four tires were junk. I had some other tires at the farm to replace them. Using the tire machine, we slow repaired the tires. It was now time to pull the hubs and look at the bearings. Needless to say, they needed a little work! I ended up ordering two grease seals from NAPA and four axle hub covers from John Deere. I was amazed that the parts are still available for this old running gear. It was built sometime between 1955 and 1961. I was also surprised at how heavily they built things back in the day. The axles are one inch in diameter. I am guessing this is about a 6 ton gear. we plan to use it for a semi-permanent stand in town this year. When my dad gets back, he will be building the rack and the top of the wagon. He always does such a nice job. I'm sure it will look great.

Today, I am off to get the parts I ordered and then back to the shop to finish the project. My computer should be back this afternoon, so I will be able to finish the seed orders and get them in tomorrow. The time is flying by and I have a lot to get finished. By the twentieth, I want to be seeding my early tomatoes for the high tunnel. 


Tonight, I teach a Bible class at the church so it will be a quick snack before we go. When we get home supper will be ready. I'm sure you all think that the only thing I am interested in is eating... Well not really but I love good food.

This is what we are thinking about cooking for tonight in the crock pot.


Chicken Tagine
Tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish of vegetables, meat, and often fruit. It is actually named after the conical clay pot it is traditionally cooked in a "tagine pot". It is a nice fairly light dish with a unique flavor. Moroccan cooking evolved as a sort of fusion of African, Asian, and European flavors.

2-3 pounds skinned chicken
1 tbsp olive oil
2 sliced large onions
4-6 chopped garlic cloves
2 sliced carrots
2 sliced celery ribs
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
salt to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
2 sliced small zucchini
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper & cayenne to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh cilantro to taste



1. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil in a stockpot, stirring until onions are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and saute another couple of minutes.

2. Add chicken, cumin, ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, white wine, chicken stock and salt; stir together and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender.

3. Take chicken out and cut into cubes/chunks if necessary. Add paprika, chickpeas, sa ron, zucchini and lemon juice; simmer another 15 minutes, until zucchini is tender but still bright green.

4. Taste and add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Stir in cilantro and parsley, just before serving with couscous.


As mentioned above, we will put this in the crock pot, but it is much better if prepared as shown above.


Getting Ready for the Day - Anticipating Supper!

This morning I am heading out to pick up a load of wood and some cement blocks. A friend of mine is cleaning up some of his property and has to get rid of some things. I should be able to use the wood around the farm for upcoming projects. The cement blocks will be used for the cold frame and the hotbed. My wife and I discussed our plans for this evening and what we are going to fix for supper. Several ideas came up. Anyhow, here is what we decided to have for supper tonight. Now I have something to look forward to the rest of the day! These are a couple of great recipes. Give them a try, I think you will enjoy them!


Hamburger Casserole

1 lb. hamburger
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
1 t. parsley flakes
1 small onion (chopped)
1 soup can evaporated milk
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
Frozen tater tots

Brown hamburger & onion in skillet. Add salt & pepper. Remove from burner & drain. In separate bowl, combine soup, milk & parsley. Mix with wire whisk until smooth. Place hamburger mixture in a greased 2 quart baking dish. Pour soup mixture over hamburger. Top with tatter tots. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.


Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

2 c. potatoes, cooked, fingerling variety
1 garlic clove minced
½ c. fat free chicken broth
1½ t. rosemary
¼ t. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine potatoes, garlic & ¼ c. chicken broth in metal pie pan. Sprinkle with rosemary. Roast for 15 minutes until the broth evaporates. Add remaining broth. Flip potatoes & roast for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven & sprinkle with pepper.


German Chocolate Cake

This morning my wife andI were thinking fo something to eat after church. The first thing Kim mentioned was that we have not enjoyed German Chocolate cake in a long time. So, guess what we are making? Yep, our favorite German Chocolate cake. I thought I would share our recipe on the blog. Hope you enjoy it!


German Chocolate Cake


1 package bakers sweet chocolate

½ cup of boiling water

1 cup of butter or margarine for cake and ½ cup for frosting

3 cups of sugar

4 egg yokes for cake and 3 for frosting

1 teaspoon vanilla for cake and 1 teaspoon for frosting

2 ½ cups of sifted flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

1 cup of butter milk

4 eggs white beaten

1 1/3 baker’s angel coconut flakes

1 cup of chopped pecans

1 cup of evaporated milk



Melt chocolate is boiling water. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yokes 1 at a time beating well after each. Blend in vanilla and cooked chocolate. Shift flour with soda and salt. Add this to chocolate mixture with buttermilk beating well after each addition until smooth. Add beaten egg whites (fold into batter). Pour into (3) 9 inch pans lined with wax paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes then cool.

Frosting: Add the evaporated milk, sugar beaten egg yokes, butter and vanilla to sauce pan and cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Watch it, stir continually, if you don’t it will get lumpy. Add 1 1/3 baker’s angel coconut flakes and 2 cup of chopped pecans. Cool till thick enough to spread. Spread on top of cake. Yummy!

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